Stories & Society
About the Series
Date(s): Wednesdays, January 25 to February 22, 2023
Time: 9:30 to 11:15 am
Place: Virtual OR In-person
Price: $59 (plus HST)
Stories are central to human communication. We use stories to help us imagine, to better understand one another, and to solve problems and create solutions. Storytelling is more than just entertainment.
This Third Age Learning Lakehead (TALL) series will explore stories and the role of storytelling in society. We’ll examine questions like: How do our narratives—the stories we tell and are told— shape our lives, our community, our country? How are these narratives constructed? Does science fiction try to predict the future? What is the role of alternative forms of storytelling - like podcasting - in the changing world of media? And how can stories be used in education?
Ways of Escape: The Use and Abuse of Narrative
Dr. Kim Fedderson
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
Questions about identity are at the forefront today. It’s personal. Who am I? Where do I come from? Where should I be headed?
It’s also social. Who are we? What is our identity? Is there a national culture? Is there an underlying, sustaining coherence to Canada’s multicultural story or are we currently witnessing its unravelling?
The spaces in which these questions get addressed—mainstream media, social media, service clubs, coffee shops etc.—are turbulent ones. We often find ourselves buffeted between an extreme populist right and an extreme populist left.
On the one side, an ALT right in the grip of a fear of otherness—other nationalities, other races, other sexes, other genders—is possessed by a fervent nostalgia that hopes to restore a pristine past that never was.
On the other, a CTRL left whose passionate commitment to difference—giving voice to the voiceless, bringing the marginalized to the centre—propels the unflinching zeal with which it judges both the past and present by the standards of a utopian future yet, if ever, to come.
One slams the brakes, the other hits the gas pedal.
How do our narratives—the stories we tell and are told— shape our lives, our community, our country? How are these narratives constructed? What materials do they use and how do they put these materials together? And, most importantly, can we step outside these stories that shape us, so that we can tell which ones we should remember and which ones we should forget?
Kim Fedderson was the founding dean of Lakehead University’s Orillia campus and is a Professor Emeritus in Lakehead University’s department of English.His research focuses on the history of rhetoric and rhetorical theory. His published work explores how cultural moments of the past, as represented in novels, films, paintings, ceremonies and monuments, are preserved, celebrated, transformed, or simply forgotten in the present.
Dr. Kim Fedderson will attend in-person.
Shifting Perspectives: Generative Historical Revisitation
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
In light of what Indigenous literary scholar Dian Million calls “felt scholarship,” Armand will begin with his childhood in remote northern Ontario and consider what led him to a literary career with a lifelong interest in Indigenous histories. He will trace the trajectory and impact of these hidden family and community histories, which led him to his first book Opening In The Sky (1994) and later his poetic-biography Grey Owl: the Mystery of Archie Belaney (1996). By way of problematizing the relationship between “measured” objective historical account and “personal” literary subjectivity, he will also reference his biography Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird and his libretto for the musical Sounding Thunder: The Song of Francis Pegahmagabow. Lastly, he will refer to his latest project set in 19th century Upper Canada, which again merges historical fact and imaginative revisitation in the application to understand and feel a period of tremendous change for Indigenous peoples.
Armand Garnet Ruffo was born in remote northern Ontario and is a member of the Chapleau Cree First Nation. His publications include Treaty # (2019), and Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird (2014), both finalists for the Governor General’s Literary Award; Introduction to Indigenous Literary Criticism in Canada (2016); The Thunderbird Poems (2015) and Grey Owl: the Mystery of Archie Belaney (1994/ 2021). In 2016, he was the recipient of a “Life Membership Award” from National Council of the League of Canadian Poets, and, in 2020, the “Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize” for his body of work. He currently teaches at Queen’s University where he is a Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous Literatures.
Armand Ruffo will attend virtually.
Looking Beyond: Science Fiction and Our Future in Space
Wednesday, February 8, 2023
At its core, science fiction is a thought experiment told as a story. Writers speculate what might happen if, for example, we start living on Mars, or discover extra-solar planets. Ideas once considered far-fetched—science fiction– are now in the daily news. Yet science fiction doesn’t try to predict the future. Writers pay attention to what’s possible now and predicted soon, then use their imaginations to look beyond and consider what if…? To celebrate wonder and reveal potential consequences. It’s powerful stuff. Join acclaimed author Julie E. Czerneda for a look at space and what we might do and become there, through the lens of science fiction.
Former biologist and textbook author Julie E. Czerneda has always been fascinated by space. Several of her science fiction novels speculate on what our future there might be like, including the Aurora-Award winning In the Company of Others, and her latest, To Each This World. Her anthology, Space Inc., explored work in space beyond the astronaut. Julie has conducted workshops for the Smithsonian Institute and Chandra Telescope on potential alien forms of life. She was inducted in 2022 into the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. Julie is published by DAW Books NY and represented by Sara Megibow of KT Literary.
Julie Czerneda will attend in-person.
The Power of Podcasting: A New Home for Long-Form Narrative in a Changing Media World
Wednesday, February 15, 2023
As page counts and advertising revenues shrivel in traditional print media, podcasting is booming — from new audio ventures of established media outlets to lone-wolf storytellers with a recording setup from Best Buy. Award-winning print, radio broadcast and podcast journalist Liz Beatty has experienced firsthand this speed-light-morphing of the media landscape. She’s transitioned from feature writer for the likes of National Geographic and The Walrus, to documentary podcasting veteran, garnering top awards in her travel/culture beat from across North America. And all this after the age of 50. In this talk, Liz will share not only the power of this exploding new medium, but how she's found success among podcasting peers most often half her age.
Liz Beatty is an award-winning feature writer, broadcaster and podcaster. She’s won all the top awards for podcasting, radio broadcasting and feature writing in the travel and culture lane. Her show North Americana took the 2021 Silver, and both 2020 Gold and Silver Lowell Thomas Awards for Best Podcast from the Society of American Travel Writers, as well as the 2021 Gold and Bronze for Best Podcast from the North American Travel Journalists Association. She is also a regular contributor to National Geographic Travel magazine, books and blogs, and writes for The Guardian, T+L, AARP, The Walrus, Toronto Life and others. She has photographed, written about and produced award-winning stories on everything from the great climbs of the 100th Tour de France for National Geographic to finding the last vestiges of nomadic gaucho culture off the grid in Northern Argentina.
Liz Beatty will attend in-person.
Global events, local stories: Narratives of education and youth across former colonies
Dr. Gary Pluim
Wednesday, February 22, 2023
How have the legacies of colonialism shaped the stories that form a nation’s consciousness? And how have global moments around the world been translated into diverse and sometimes contradictory local narratives? In this talk, Dr. Gary Pluim will explore the impacts of history, geopolitics, geography, and regionalism on the ways that stories are constructed within and without local communities. It will examine how education has played a key role in colonization, and how stories can both serve to disenfranchise and empower citizens. Based on his work as a global citizenship educator and anecdotes from his research in international education, Gary plans to weave together his years of overseas experiences with episodes of global history to illuminate the importance of sharing stories for deeper intercultural understanding.
Dr. Gary Pluim is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead Orillia. He has a PhD from the University of Toronto, where he completed his doctoral thesis on constructions and conceptualizations of youth participation in the context of the post-earthquake, national reconstruction in Haiti. Informed by his work as a classroom teacher, an outdoor educator, and an international program director, Gary’s current research examines the nexus between global citizenship education and local, place-based education. He has received numerous awards for his research, including an International Research Partnership Award from Lakehead University and a Partnership Engagement Grant award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, provided to investigate the benefits, limits, and consequences of transferring educational curriculum between small states of the Commonwealth.
Dr. Gary Pluim will attend in-person.
How to Buy Tickets
This session of Third Age Learning Lakehead will be delivered in a hybrid format - virtually and in-person at the St. Paul's Centre in Orillia. Light refreshments (coffee and cookies) will be served in-person. Please bring a reusable mug. Tickets for the series are $59 plus HST.
*Please register for the attendance type (virtual or in-person) you intend to attend the most.*